Rugby's Little Flower Catholic Church is now home for Father John Ejike, who was assigned to the parish late last month.
A native of Nigeria, Fr. John has been an ordained priest for 31 years, spending most of his time there, serving in very large parishes.
"I'm looking forward to working in a smaller parish,'' he said, adding the people here in Rugby have been friendly.
Fr. John came to the Fargo Diocese last November, serving at Cardinal Muench Seminary and filling in at several area parishes when needed. "Yes, I know what winter here is like,'' he quipped. "And now I know what sandbagging is," referring to the flood fight efforts in Fargo this past spring.
His duties are to tend to the spiritual needs of the parishioners at Little Flower and St. Mary's of Knox.
In 1971, he was admitted into the Bigard Memorial Major Seminary Engugu where he did his philosophical and theological studies. He obtained his bachelor's degree in both philosophy and theology.
He was ordained in July of 1978. After his ordination and serving a few years as a pastor, Fr. John went on to further studies in England where he earned his post-graduate degree in Development Policy and Planning and Master's in Social Development. Since his ordination he has also served many eccelesiastical administrative appointments. He celebrated his priestly silver jubilee in 2003.
In past years he has been a visiting priest at parishes in New York and Connecticut.
Fr. John grew up in the towns of Nomeh and Onitsha in Nigeria and was the oldest sibling in a large family. He has five brothers and a sister.
His father worked as a businessman, selling such items as palm oil and kernels to English companies while the country remained a colony under English rule. His mother traded goods at markets near their home as well as tended to him and his brothers and sister.
He served as an altar boy in his home parishes. Over time his love for Christ grew stronger, and he eventually answered God's call to enter the priesthood.
In his spare time, Father John enjoys reading and staying up on current events.